The Chairperson of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal Maoist (UCPNM) Pushpa Kamal Dahal has got a slap on his face from one of his former activists at a festival tea ceremony held Friday in Kathmandu.
While shaking hands with Dahal to express Deepawali best wishes, Padam Kunwar of Baglung district slapped the UCPNM Chairperson.
After the slap, several other angry party cadres present at the ceremony beat Kunwar, whom the police have hospitalized now.
Meanwhile an emergency meeting of the UCPNM has issued a statement referring to the slap as a preplanned action intended to create a confrontational situation and disturb the peace process.
While the UCPN-M sees it not as a mere show of anger of a citizen, the Nepali mass media have widely covered the incident as a wrath expressed by a former Maoist cadre.
Police have told media persons that Kunwar’s family members were involved in the UCPNM, though they have shifted to the newly formed party called the Communist Party of Nepal Maoist (CPNM).
In January 2011, one Devi Prasad Regmi had slapped Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML) Chairperson Jhala Nath Khanal on his face in Itahari district.
More recently on 29 September 2012, Nepali Congress activist Prabesh Basnet had attempted at his own party President Sushil Koirala with a wooden frame at a program in Kathmandu. Other party cadres had saved Koirala, blocking the attack.
No truth behind previous slaps has been discovered yet. The government is reportedly engaged in investigation on the slap case.
The overall case analysis proves that it is not a security issue at all. It is a political issue aimed at demoralizing political leaders, who have at times demonstrated their moral irresponsibility. As it is clear that a culture of slapping leaders on their faces and gaining a week’s glamor does not correct the all-pervasive corrupt culture in the Nepali society, the slapper is likely to have been provoked by a possible personal benefit.
The mass media, instead of superficializing the coverage of news and views geared at intra-party feuds, need to focus on creating a rich and strategic public opinion in favor of better changes and against corrupt political leaderships, including all-pervasive corruption in media, judiciary, security, bureaucratic and business sectors.